Stephen Wilson 


Conceptual/Information Arts Program

Art Department 

San Francisco State University 

San Francisco, CA 94132 

(415) 338-2291 (415) 338-6537(fax) 

Current Research 

Telecommunications and Alienation 
Artificial Intelligence
Art as Research
Agents and Human-Computer Interface
Environmental and Biological Sensing 
GPS Satellite Location Technology
Mapping of Conceptual and Emotional Space to Physical Space 


School of the Art Institute of Chicago
M.F.A., Art and Technology/ Performance, 1981 

University of Chicago 
Ph.D., Educational Psychology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 1972 

Boston College 
M.Ed., Research Methods and Computer Applications, 1968 

Antioch College 
B.A.,Literature/ Education, 1967 

Princeton University 
Architecture, 1962-64 


Art Department, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California 
Professor, Conceptual/ Information Arts. 1982 - Present. 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Lecturer, Computers and Art, 1979-81 

Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, DesPlaines, Illinois 
Assistant Professor, Evaluation & Social Science, Supervise Doctoral Fieldwork 1975-78 

University of Illinois, Chicago Circle.
Assistant Professor. Educational Psychology & Evaluation. 1969-73 

Experimental Teaching 
First Grade in Project Male, Boston, 1967-68. 
Second Grade inWoodlawn Mental Health Project, Chicago, 1969-70 


Art Events and Installations 

.TRANSIT-TIME The installation presents a sound/video/kinetic ëinfomaticí event which changes in real time based on the  live position of San Francisco Muni trains moving about the city at the moment of viewing.  Includes video that matches what passengers are seeing and the "Magic Muni Chair' that vibrates in resonance with real train movements. YLEM Show - Somarts Gallery, 2001; Exploratorium - Teleopolis Show, 2002

BODY SURFING. Cultural theorists claim that in our electronically mediated era the physical body is increasingly irrelevant.  "Body Surfing" uses state of the art body sensing technology to ironically question this claim by allowing visitors to investigate the limitations and pleasures of the body through drumming, stretching, dancing, and running.     SFSU Art Gallery,2000

DON'T MISS IT.  (Work in Progress, 2000)
Location based work using GPS.  People moving through the city are alerted by portable computer hooked to GPS receiver when they are near significant locations.

50 POINTS OF LIGHT. Siggraph98 Pioneers Show. Siggraph, Orlando, 1998
Simultaneous live views of 50 spots in the world collaged with time lapse amd other cultural materials. 

CRIME-Z-LAND. San Francisco Arts Commission. San Francisco, CA 1998
Commission to create outdoor "active " interactive map of SF visualizing in real time where and when crimes happen. Simultaneously controllable by physical and World Wide Web visitors. Deconstruction of the concept of crime.WINNER Honorary Mention, Ars Electronica International Competition for Interactive Art. 

TELEPRESENT. San Francisco, 1997.
Participants carried around a wireless box that automatically uploaded images from whereever they were to the Web. 

La FINCA The Homestead project, Museum of Art, Valencia,Spain, 1996
Part of International team of artists using the Web to explore concepts of colonialization. 

ARTIST IN RESIDENCIES Xerox PARC Research Center and NTT Research Center, Palo Alto, CA. 1994-6
(At PARC) Competitively selected to participate in experimental PAIR artist in residence program. Work collaboratively with researchers in invention of newmultimedia information spaces. (At NTT) Assisted policy planners in conceptualizing the future of telecommunications. 

MEMORY MAP. Multimedia,95. SIGCHI (Boston,MA), and DATA/DADA Show, Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD
An interactive sound installation that maps memories and anticipations to physical space. Voices of older viewers come from in front of current viewer and voices of younger come from behind. Digital Video servies as the main interface and 2 computers communicate via a network to execute the event. 

IS ANYONE THERE? . SIGCHI, 1993 (Monterrey,CA) and SIGGRAPH, 1993 (Chicago), Ars Electronica, 1993 (Austria)
Computer automatically calls selected pay phones in the city 24 hours a day and uses intelligent programming and digitized speech to engage those who answer in conversations about their lives and their surroundings. Viewers using voice recognition interactively devise multiple strategies to navigate record of conversations and related digital video. WINNER Golden Nica Ars Electronica International Competition for Interactive Art. 

ORATORIO FOR RELIGIOUS OPINION. V2 Organization. 'S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. 1990
An interactive sound installation creates an "opera" of voice by digitizing the opinions of citizens and moving processed versions of their stored voices among several loudspeakers on a public square. Points of view get identified with particular physical locations. International Manifestation for Unstable Media 

FATHER WHY. ARS ELECTRONICA, Linz, Austria and Richmond Art Center. 1989
A physical space serves as a metaphor for the emotional space surrounding the imminent death of a loved one. Computer responds with digital speech and music to viewers walking through the places of anger, longing, sadness, and forgetfulness. 

Four computer controlled mannequins each recounted a fictional life event from a unique emotional perspective. Mannequins were activated by a viewer's presence nearby. Movement to another mannequin caused the new one to reflect on the utterances of the previous dummy from its own perspective. The mannequins seemed to be actively listening to each other. 

OCEAN MERGE. CSU Summer Arts program, San Luis Obispo, CA. 1987
By reading the changing resistance of sea water, the computer uses wave action to create a sound event of changing spatial location and digitized combinations of the viewers' voices with sea mammal sounds. Prototype installation was built as invited sculpture for summer arts festival. 

DEMON SEED, SIGGRPAH Art Show, Anaheim, CA. 1987
Four computer choreographed moving and talking robot arms simulated demons in various world cultures and were periodically controllable by audience via velvet squeeze rods. Robots spoke with processed versions of audience voiceces. 

Interactive robots used synthesized speech and computer controlled video switching to simulate bureaucrats. Commissioned for City Hall lobby for festival. 

4 programmed computer personalities conversed with viewers via synthesized speech and voice recognition. Computer enabled each voice to come from its own space. 

Home viewers and visitors to the art show affected computer graphics via calls to station automatically processed by my computer program. Participants' choices about the pace, process and direction of evolution affected the unfolding action. 

TIME ENTITY, SJSU and SFSU Galleries, 1983-84.
A computer graphic and sound representation of an artificial, time-sensitive lifeform interacted with viewers in a forest installation allowing them to send messages forward in time and to inspect specific moments in its life history. 

I invented a technique applicable to various types of print media whereby electronic circuitry produces sound, light and other effects in response to various inputs such as touch, position, sound, etc. (Featured in Venture magazine) 


Research and Professional 


Panels, Workshops, Symposiums, Editorial and Organizational Work 

Advisor, Interactive Institute, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden. Directed workshops, and advised the director on design of national network of Institutes to orchestrate collaboration between artists and researchers. 

Invited Speaker "Beyond Media". "Knowing Mass Culture" Center for Twentieth Century Stuides, UWM, 1999 

New Media Opportunities on the Web." Hong Kong International Web Symposium Keynote, Hong Kong, 1997. 

MASTER-CLASS, Copenhagen96 ,Copenhagen, 1996. Invited as one of three world artists to work as part of Copenhagen96 Cultural Capital of Europe activities to create a masterclass for Scandinavian artists. Collaborated in creating events that probed areas of emererging Internet technology. 

Workshops, World Wide Web Design for Artists. ISEA(International Symposia for Electronic Arts) 1997, Chicago; 1996,Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 1995, Montreal. 

Workshop, New Technology and Education. Hawaii Educational Change Project. Honolulu, 1995 

Paper Presenter "Artist as Researcher" FISEA (Fourth International Symposium on Electronic Arts). Minneapolis, 1993 

Editorial Board, LEONARDO Journal. Advisory Board YLEM Art & Technology group 1982- present 

Panel Presenter, "Interactive Multimedia Art," MacWorld Expo, San Francisco, 1992,1991. Chair, Panel on "Artificial Realities, Intelligent Systems, and Interactive Art, NCGA CADRE meetings, San Jose, CA, 1989 

Producer, Computer Mediated Events,Distinguished Artist Forum, SFSU, 1988. Chair, Panel on "AI and the Arts", New Technologies Symposium, Chicago Art Institute, 1987. Chair, Panel on "Creation of Computer Mediated Interactive Installations in Educational, Museum, and Art Settings", SIGGRAPH , San Francisco, 1985 

Art & New Technology Research 

Director, INTERACTIVE ARTS, 1982-Present. Consultant to industries investigating the interactive potential of new technology including projects such as interactive directories for office buildings , interactive signage.and hardware & software for physical rehabilitation. Apple Certified Developer. Voice Navigator Developer. Beta Test Site. 

Consultant, Cable Channel 35, San Francisco, 1983-1990. I developed hardware & software system to expand videotext capabilities to include voice response & enhanced graphics. As result of proposal I wrote, Apple Computer awarded the station an equipment grant. 

Principal Investigator, Advanced Imaging Center, SFSU, 1988. I conceptualized and wrote successful grant to establish an Advanced Imaging Center, which would help creative artists explore new imaging technologies and new kinds of linkages between industry and universities in the research and development and training. 

Principal Investigator, CSU Academic Improvement Project, 1984-86. I directed committee planning interdisciplinary computers & arts curriculum and wrote successful proposal for R &D project to develop model curriculum and drafted systemwide policy recommendations. 

Exhibit Design & Evaluation, Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago, 1981-82 I assisted in the design and evaluation of exhibits including NSF funded project to teach scientific literacy and NEH project to teach architecture using interactive microcomputers. 

Consultant, Development Office, School of Art Institute, Chicago, 1980-82 

I investigated art/technology funding opportunities from foundations and government, helped author successful grant for time arts program, and helped plan organization development activities to teach faculty grant development skills. 

Education & New Technology / Urban School Change 

Core Investigator, Project Catalyst, 1990-1993. National Science Foundation funded project to introduce new technologies to secondary school teachers. Exploring System Earth Consortium, 1986-88. I consulted on the design of the human interface for a university consortium trying to develop artificial intelligence modules for teaching physical science 

Research and Evaluation Director, Center for New Schools, Chicago, 1970-78. My position included authoring proposals, negotiating with clients and funders, hiring, training and supervising researchers, coordinating technical assistance activities, analyzing data, and writing reports and articles. The Center was a not for profit organization working to improve urban schools through a combination of research and technical assistance. 

Central issues in research included: Use of ethnographic methods, in evaluation, increasing the usefulness of research, and working with practitioners in research. The last major project was a nationwide, five year, five million dollar effort to improve urban schools. 



Art, Technology & Culture Publications 

Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science and Technology. (MIT Press,2001)

"Myths and Confusions in Art, Science, and Technology" paper presented at College Art Association, NYC, 2000 "Art and Research Agendas" paper presented at ISEA Invencao meetings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1999

Websites: Emerging Technologies Website (Introductions to technologies likely to be culturally significant); Art Resources in Art & Technology (artists links, organizations, essays, think tanks); How-to-Guides for Web Authors (links all available at 

"Refelections on PARC Artist in Residence Program" in Craig Harris (ed) Art and Innovation.  (MIT Press, 1999)

"Art as Research" 1996 (paper commissioned by A*R*T project, Stockholm Sweeden - available online on swilson site)

World Wide Web Design Guide. Hayden Books, 1995

"Aesthetics and Practice of Designing Interactive Computer Events". SIGGRAPH94 Visual Proceedings. ACM, Chicago,1994 (Published as Interactive Hypermedia Work on CD ROM)

"Artificial Intelligence Research as Art Research". Stanford Humanities Journal. (Fall, 94)

"Educating Artists to Work with Telecommunications". THE Journal. Vol. 21: No. 5 (December, 93)

"Light and Dark Visions: The Relationship of Cultural Theory to Art that Uses Emerging Technologies". SIGGRAPH93 Art Show Catalog. ACM, Chicago, 1993

Multimedia Design with HyperCard. Prentice Hall. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1991

"Research & Development as a Source of Ideas for Artists". Leonardo, Vol 24: No. 3 (1991)

"Noise on the Line - Issues in Telecommunications Based Art" . Leonardo, Vol 24: No. 2 (1991)

"Interactive Art & Cultural Change". Leonardo, Vol 23: No. 2&3 (1990)

"Tutoring Metaphor: Exploring Pedagogical Possibilities of Interactive AI Workstations" ESE Newsletter Issue 17 (September-October, 1987)

"Artists As Explorers on the Technological Frontier". Academic Computing, Vol 1, No. 2 (1987)

Using Computers to Create Art. Prentice Hall. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1986

Various papers on interactive art events and the relationship of art and artificial intelligence. USF Invitational Forum, Invited Speaker NCGA, 1984,85

"An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Artists". in Marcia Chamberlain. CADRE: Computers in Art, Design, Research, and Education, San Jose State University, 1984

"Environment-Sensing Artworks and Interactive Events: Exploring Implications of Microcomputer Developments". Leonardo, Vol 16: No. 4 (Autumn, 1983)

"Interactive Art". InCider (September, 1983)

"Computer Art: Artificial Intelligence and the Arts". Leonardo, Vol 16:No. 1 (Winter, 1983)


Research Methodlogy & Educational Change Publications 

"Strengthening Connections Between Schools and Communities as a Way of Improving Urban Schools". Urban Education, Vol. 18: No. 2 (July,1983)

"What Practitioners Can Teach Researchers About Research". Teachers Center Exchange, Far West Labs, San Francisco, 1981

"Influences on the Usefulness of Case Studies". Evaluation Quarterly, Vol 3: No. 3 (1979)

"The Use of Ethnographic Methods in Educational Research". Review of Educational Research, Vol 47: No. 1 (Summer, 1977)

"The Use of Ethnographic Methods in Educational Evaluation". Human Organization, Vol 36: No. 2 (Summer, 1977)

"You Can Talk to the Teachers". Teachers College Record, Vol 78: No. 1 (September, 1976)

"Strengthening Alternative Schools". Harvard Education Review, Vol 42: No. 3 (August, 1972)

"Educational Change in the Kibbutz". Comparative Education, Vol 5: No. 1 (Fall, 1969)